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Genetics and its role in the control of animal diseases: A brief review

Yosef Deneke Belachew

Abstract


Veterinary genetics is an emerging branch of genetics which has strong potential application in the control and prevention of livestock disease. Unlike the other methods, control of animal disease through genetic means would be cost effective and does not require continuous investment. This is due to the fact that once a desirable genetic resource is identified and/or achieved, it can be exploited for several generations without any additional input. In the present review, two general approaches or principles to be considered in the control of livestock disease through genetic means are reviewed. The first one is exploitation of the hosts genetic resource, which could be achieved through selection and propagation of those animals having no genetic defects and naturally resistant to a particular disease. Such animals can be prepared through use of transgenic animal technology in which genes for disease resistance have been incorporated. The second approach is genetic control of pathogens by employing several techniques. This includes control of vectors using conventional sterile insect release method, Y-autosome translocation or use of compound chromosomes, and identification and cloning of genes in pathogens responsible for the production of potent antigens which can be used in vaccine development via the application of recombinant DNA technology. Selecting cattle most resistant to the development of infectious diseases will decrease costs of production and should therefore be included in the overall breeding objective.


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